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The Sounds of Solange Knowles

Blending 21st Century Sound with 20th Century Style

She's More than Beyonce's little sister! She's A GREAT SINGER/SONGWRITER! 

I must admit that music has always been a very interesting topic for me. Growing up listening to different styles of music taught me to appreciate the different genres used by the solo singers and groups. There are few singing groups of the 1970s through 1990s, who were blessed to have recorded at least one album, that I haven’t heard of. At one point in my life, I listened to different genres of music daily. From the Jacksons to Jefferson Starship to Destiny’s Child and many more, I enjoy and appreciate the difference in their style of singing and music. There is an instant connection between music and me because I appreciate differences.

With the implementation of the different music channels, most notably MTV, which first aired on August 1, 1981, fans were able to listen to and watch their favorite artists perform their favorite songs. I commend the person who originally came up with the idea for music television because as new soloists began to emerge, or seemingly new soloists, I quickly realized that many of them originally began their music careers in groups. Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop, began performing with his four brothers, as most people know by now. Charlie Wilson was lead singer for the Gap Band. Justin Timberlake was a member of the group NSYNC. Beyonce began with Destiny’s Child. This isn’t half the list of famous soloists that began their careers as either lead singers in groups or backup singers. However, and most importantly, the decision to take their careers from group members to soloists, has proven to be the right decision for many of them, although I’m sure not one of them will ever forget how they started off in the business.

It's even more interesting to realize that following in the footsteps of many famous entertainers are younger siblings, who were there all the time, contributing to the success of the famous sibling through some form of support. For some of these younger siblings, displaying their God-given talents may have been somewhat challenging because of their age and the parents’ reluctance to approve or encourage their desire to perform at that time.

Not long ago, while riding down the highway with my daughter, I was listening to the sounds of a very talented young lady performing with that style of music that instantly took me back to the sounds of the 1960s and 70s. From the moment the music began playing and the first lyrics were sung, my attention was captured. While snapping my fingers and listening closely, I kept trying to recognize the voice without having to ask for the person’s name. But I couldn’t because I had not heard any of her music before. My mouth dropped open when my daughter identified the woman as Solange Knowles. I knew that Solange was not only the sister of mega superstar, BEYONCE, but an actor as well. I can recall her playing the role of older daughter of famous actress, Vanessa Williams and famous actor and one of the KINGS OF COMEDY, Cedric The Entertainer, with rapper, Bow Wow playing the role of her brother, in the movie JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION. I had no idea that Solange actually sung and is a recording artist. I decided to conduct research on Solange’s interest in music and when it began, something I do whenever I feel an instant attraction to an artist’s style of music, especially younger artists.

Solange’s interest in a singing career began at age five, many would assume this to be a desire to follow in the footsteps of older sister, Beyonce. I beg to differ, especially after learning that this young lady began writing music at the tender age of 9. I wouldn’t doubt that Beyonce’s pursuit of her music interests had some influence over Solange. After all, younger siblings are always influenced by older siblings, even they inevitable choose different paths. Still, as individuals our interests in chosen careers develop at different stages of our lives as a result of something that has left a major impact on us. Obviously, both sisters became interested in the music industry, or performing, at very young ages. And they say that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. Tina Knowles Larson, mother of the famous Knowles sisters, has also experienced the entertaining bug, as a member of a group inspired by the Supremes called The Veltones. This could support the theory that perhaps Solange’s interest in music is a result of genetics, although her parents initially tried to discourage her interest in the music industry. Ultimately, Solange was allowed by her father, Matthew Knowles, to record her debut album “Solo Star” at age 16, in 2003. Reports say the album didn’t do so good. On the Billboard 200 Chart, her album made it to 49, which is a position I would consider admirable considering the distance from 200 to 49, though some may view it differently. And though Solange may not have been as popular as her older sister, she was always an important part of Beyonce’s singing career, serving as occasional backup for Destiny’s Child when needed, at age 13. Not only that, Solange is credited for writing Beyonce’s hit singles, Upgrade U and Get Me Bodied on her B-Day album, which topped number one on the Billboard 200 chart. It takes a lot of skill and talent to write music that tops the Billboard 200 Chart.

Whenever I listen to Solange’s songs, I hear pure, embedded singing talent from a young woman whose music, combined with great lyrics, has that ability to take listeners, of my era at least, back to memories of the 1960s and1970s Doowop sound. That sound which makes you want to snap your fingers, while moving to the beat of the music. This young lady’s voice stands out in each of her songs because she brings a unique style of her own. A style which instantly reminded me of the style of the Supremes and Martha and the Vandelas with a blend of 21st Century sound. Despite the famous elevator scene, with her attacking brother-in-law, JayZ, Solange’s talent is a force to be reckoned with and she continues to bring it. Those who have had the privilege of meeting this beautiful, young woman, in person, reports that she is a sweet, intelligent young lady, a little more down to earth, and friendlier, than a lot of celebrities, and siblings of celebrities, making their mark in the entertainment industry. Because of Solange’s humbleness, and unique style, I can see her as a continuing rising star. I listened several times to different singles, written and performed by Solange, and I must say that I DECIDED and T.O.N.Y are two of my favorite songs because of that 1970s style of music that accompanies the lyrics. To Solange I say, keep up the great work. Your star is shining because of who you are and the creative talent that you possess. No doubt, she knows that already. 

Nathonia Smith
Nathonia Smith

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, inventor and online published writer who recently completed studies at Ashford University earning a Bachelors Degree in Human Resource Management. Writing has always given me such joy and fulfillment.

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